Summer in Voorhees: Local celebrities and entertainment in the park

Talent contests and concerts in the park create neighborhood camaraderie this summer

The weather is warming up and summer is here, a time to enjoy the outdoors and the community events offered throughout the next few months. Mayor Michael Mignogna says summer in Voorhees typically brings residents out to parks and fields, enjoying picnic areas, trails, playgrounds, sports and more, while the township puts together numerous activities to bring the talent and neighborhood camaraderie together.

Arts and entertainment

For the first time, residents who have had a dream of becoming the next local celebrity will have their chance with the upcoming Voorhees Got Talent event. With auditions beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20 at the atrium of Voorhees Town Center, where Macy’s was located, and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 22 at Connolly Park, residents will have the opportunity to shine in the limelight and showcase their talents to their fellow community members.

“We are looking for any kind of talent — from juggling, to breathing fire, to magic, to singing and dancing,” said Gabrielle Horvitz, the producer of the event. “People always envision being the next American idol but never get that shot. I want those people to never give up on their dreams.”

Auditions are first-come, first-served, and those chosen to move on to the next round will perform at the semi-finals in Connolly Park at 6 p.m., on July 20. The top five will move on to the final round, held in the Eastern Regional High School Theater at 7 p.m., with the chance to win $500 for second place and $1,000 for first.

There will be a number of judges affiliated with Voorhees, as well as the performance industry. Guest judges include Dante Bratelli, Voorhees district alumni and off-Broadway actor; Julia Udine, Broadway star and alumni; Georganne Bruzzese, resident and talent manager; Tyler Constantino, alumni and music producer; Mary Elizabeth Horvitz, resident, former director at the Voorhees Middle School and founder and former president of the Voorhees Theatre Company; and Kate Layton, professional classical singer, director at the Levoy Theater in Millville and music educator in Philadelphia.

“We have many talented members of our community, and we thought ‘Voorhees Got Talent’ would be a chance to show them off,” Mignogna said. “We hope to see singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and performers of all ages. It’s a chance to bring the community together for some fun.”

For more information, call Horvitz at (609) 781–4409, or email ghorvitz@gmail.com.

The 14th annual Summer Concert Series will be “bigger and better than ever,” Mignogna said. Held at Connolly Park, the series is free for all to attend, with free parking as well. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with performances taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. Chicago tribute band Beginnings will be kicking off the series on June 22, followed by Fleetwood Mac tribute band Tusk on July 20 and Beatles tribute band Mahony Brothers on Aug. 24. The PG animated movie “Sing” will be shown on Sept. 23.

“The concerts and movie in the park give families a chance to enjoy a night of fun at our beautiful Connolly Park,” Mignogna said.

For the first time, the events will include a beer garden where adults older than 21 can enjoy alcoholic beverages throughout the night of music and entertainment. The concerts will also have food provided by numerous food trucks, such as J-Dogs, P.J. Whelihan’s, Oink and Moo BBQ, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant and Dump-N-Roll.

For more information, visit www.voorheesnj.com.

Community Events

Beginning July 17 through July 21, the fourth annual Junior Police Academy will be held at the Voorhees Police Department. According to Mignogna, the program is a way of teaching the community youth to appreciate and respect the duties and life of police officers.

“It also gives those who have dreams of becoming a police officer a taste of police life,” Mignogna said.

The program is open to children ages 12 to 17. Applications must be submitted online at www.vtpd.com/jpa by June 30.

The third annual National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. in Connolly Park. According to the Voorhees Police Department website, www.vtpd.com, the event is a “community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.”

Residents will have the chance to meet police officers and enjoy carnival attractions, games, music, food and more.

“The VTPD does a great job organizing this community event,” Mignogna said. “The night promotes police community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, striving to make our neighborhoods safer.”